The Best Lab-Grown Diamond Jewelry To Buy Now and Love Forever
With the rise of lab-grown diamond jewelry, a precious pair of earrings or a special signet ring is more readily available—and affordable—than ever before.
While some skepticism existed around lab-grown diamonds when they were first released, consumer understanding has shifted and popularity has grown. “[Lab-grown diamonds] have the same chemical, physical, and optical properties as mined diamonds,” says Mona Akhavi, president of the jewelry brand Vrai. This means that to the naked eye, it’s impossible to tell the difference. Supply is not limited in the same way that it is for mined diamonds, which means that lab-grown diamonds can be priced lower and more consistently.
In addition, since labs have the power to choose exactly what size and specification of diamond to produce, there’s an ability to react more deftly to jewelry trends or shifts in consumer preferences. That could mean everything from size to color to quality (e.g., how many inclusions, or flaws, are present). “Laboratory-grown diamonds can span the full rainbow of colors through growth and color treatment techniques,” says Ulrika D’Haenens-Johansson, a diamond researcher at the GIA. “In response to market demand, most laboratory-grown diamonds are in the D-to-Z range of colorless diamonds, though attractive yellow, blue, and pink colors are also available.” She adds that they can also range from tiny accent-size stones to 30 carats.
If you’re considering buying a lab-grown diamond piece, shop a few of our favorites across a range of categories, below.
Lightbox Lab-Grown Diamond 1ct. Round Brilliant 14k Bezel Studs
Simple, timeless, and sophisticated. Bezel-set diamond studs are a style you can wear every day. Since each earring is only 0.5 carats, they’ll still be small enough that you won’t feel nervous about losing one as you run around to your daily activities. If you’re going to splurge, you want something that can work for your lifestyle. Lightbox jewelry, which is owned by DeBeers, has its growing lab in Portland, Oregon. There, they’re able to produce white diamonds, but also offer styles in blue or pink if you prefer color.
Price at time of publish: $1,200
Metal: 14K yellow gold, 14K white gold | Stone Shape: Round | Carat Size: 1 ct.
Clean Origin Soho Emerald 1/4 ct Necklace
If you’re looking to purchase your very first diamond piece, or perhaps a gift for someone else, you may be searching for a style that is undeniably luxurious (they’re diamonds after all!) but still relatively affordable, try a necklace with a single stone. This under-$500 style, with an elegant emerald-cut diamond, is a great piece for layering or wearing all on its own. Clean Origin’s co-founder Alexander Weindling is a third-generation diamond jeweler but the first to make the foray into lab-grown diamond jewelry.
Price at time of publish: $490
Metal: 14K yellow gold, 14K white gold, 14K rose gold | Stone Shape: Emerald | Carat Size: 0.25 ct.
Best Drop Earrings
Brilliant Earth Katherine Halo Drop Earrings
Delicate drop earrings are a favorite for weddings and fancy occasions. A halo-setting, a single diamond surrounded by a collection of tiny ones, is the version of the dainty earring style best designed to bring the drama. This pair from Brilliant Earth has a total weight of two carats, one for each ear—that will be enough sparkle to turn heads the minute you put these on.
Price at time of publish: $2,495
Metal: 14K white gold | Stone Shape: Oval | Carat Size: 2 ct.
Blue Nile Lab-Grown Diamond Studs
If you’re foraying into diamonds for the first time, a pair of simple stud earrings are a worthy entry point. These under-$1,000 simple stud earrings are both luxurious and understated (yes, that’s an achievable combination). A round stone is timeless, so you can invest now and plan to hold on to these earrings forever.
Price at time of publish: $943
Metal: 14K white gold | Stone Shape: Round | Carat Size: 1 ct.
Grown Brilliance Graduated Tennis Necklace
Simple, round diamonds have grown in popularity over the last few years as minimal, elegant alternatives to more flashy presentations. A graduated tennis necklace still has all of the flash and luxury of a classic circle of diamonds, but it has a decidedly dainty feel. This style from Grown Brilliance has over 4 carats worth of diamonds, so you’ll be shining plenty bright when you put this on.
Price at time of publish: $3,715
Metal: 14K white gold | Stone Shape: Round | Carat Size: 4.01 ct.
Best Tennis Bracelet
Noemie The Lab Grown Diamond Larger Tennis Bracelet
A tennis bracelet is a major investment, whether it comes to you by way of a gift or something you purchase as a treat to yourself. By choosing to purchase a style with lab-grown diamonds, like this three-carat bracelet from Noemie, the price will be lower than a bracelet made with traditionally mined diamonds, which at Noemie retails for $5,570, but will look identical in size and sparkle.
Price at time of publish: $4,490
Metal: 18K gold | Stone Shape: Round | Carat Size: 3 ct.
Charles & Colvard Scallop-Edge Eternity Band
Charles & Colvard
When it comes to finding a wedding band to compliment an engagement ring, it makes sense to keep things simple. Where your engagement ring might be more of a statement piece—a size and style chosen with just you in mind—you want a band that will compliment it without taking any attention away. This simple piece, with just under a carat and a half worth of diamonds, will accentuate what you already have, without clashing. Simple round stones will play nicely with whatever it is you might be stacking it next to.
Price at time of publish: $1,406
Metal: Platinum | Stone Shape: Round | Carat Size: 1.33 ct.
Best Signet Ring
VRAI Signet Ring
So your style is a little more boundary-pushing? Great—you can skip the minimalist silhouettes for something with a bit more of a cool factor. A signet ring, like this style from Vrai, takes a classic ring style and gives it an updated feel. Inlaid with an emerald-cut diamond, this is a style that marries the elegance of a vintage piece with the panache of modern styles. Plus, with three types of gold available, you can get a little creative in your decision-making.
Price at time of publish: $1,500
Metal: 14K yellow gold, 14K white gold, 14K rose gold | Stone Shape: Emerald, oval, marquise | Carat Size: 0.5 ct.
Best Solitaire Ring
Oui By Jean Dousset Olivia Ring
Oui By Jean Dousset
An engagement ring is a piece that should be customized to your needs and interests, which is why you want the ability to customize it. With this solitaire ring, you can opt for different metals, including solid 18K gold and platinum. You can also choose your diamond yourself, depending on your desired carat size and clarity, meaning that based on your budget and style, you can find something special that you can brag about picking out yourself.
Price at time of publish: $3,600
Metal: 18K yellow, white, or rose gold, platinum | Stone Shape: Oval | Carat Size: 1.2 ct.
Lightbox’s Bezel Studs are so timeless and practical for everyday wear that you really can’t go wrong. We especially love that they’re offered in two color options, white and yellow gold, so you can choose your preference. At $1,200, they’re certainly an investment, but what better investment to make? After all, if you’re going to splurge, you want something that can work for your lifestyle and won’t go out of fashion. However, if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option to get your diamond fix, we put our weight behind Clean Origin’s Emerald-Cut Necklace for roughly half the price.
What to Look for When Buying Lab-Grown Diamond Jewelry
“Not every lab-grown diamond is made the same way,” says Akhavi. “Many producers use processes that actually produce emissions and pollution as they use fossil fuels to power their equipment.” Our top brand, Lightbox, grows its stones using entirely renewable energy sources, but has pledged to reduce its total emissions by one-third in the coming years (you can read the details here). However, shoppers can go a step further and look for diamonds that are created with zero emissions if that is of utmost importance to them.
When it comes to purchasing lab-grown diamond jewelry, you also want to be mindful of the metals used. For quality and longevity, avoid gold-fill or gold plating, and opt for pieces that are made with pure gold or platinum. You also want to research the purity of metal that is right for you. Higher purity gold, like 24 or 22 carats is softer, making it better suited to jewelry you wear on special occasions. Gold with a lower purity like 18, 14, or 10 carats is generally more durable and suited to everyday wear.
Diamonds can be GIA certified, receiving a grade based on the four Cs (cut, clarity, color, and carat weight). When purchasing a diamond that is GIA-certified, you have the assurance of its quality and value.
The Four C’s
The quality of a diamond is distinguished by the four Cs. The first is cut, not to be mistaken by the shape, which speaks to how well-proportioned the diamond’s internal and external angles are. How well a diamond is cut directly impacts its brilliance, and the grading ranges between poor, fair, good, very good, and excellent, according to GIA’s standards. Meanwhile, the clarity speaks to how flawed the piece is. The grading scale here goes from “Included” (I) to “Flawless” (FL) with multiple stages in between. A chart provided by Vrai breaks this down further and can better help you assess the specifications of a piece of lab-grown diamond jewelry you’re looking to buy.
Color tells us the natural hue of the diamond. The closer it leans to colorless, the higher it is valued. GIA rates them from D to Z, with the former being completely colorless and the latter considered to have the brownest hue and thereby less valuable. Finally, carat refers to the size of the stone based on how much it weighs.
The shape refers to the geometric outline of the diamond and is not part of the four Cs. There’s a wide variety of them, though you can find the most common ones in a list provided by Brilliant Earth here. It includes round, oval, cushion, pear, marquise, emerald, asscher, and more.
Do lab-grown diamonds look different from natural ones?
All diamonds have the same chemical structure and are made of carbon. According to D’Haenens-Johansson, it can be difficult to tell the difference between lab-grown and mined diamonds once they are cut and polished. “At GIA, gemologists and scientists rely on advanced instrumentation and decades of research to analyze minute differences in the atomic-level structure and other aspects that are unique to natural and laboratory-grown diamonds,” she says. “Conclusively revealing their origin as natural or laboratory-grown and
any treatments to alter their color or clarity.”
What are the advantages of buying lab-grown diamond jewelry?
D’Haenens-Johansson sees the availability of lab-grown diamonds as an advantage when deciding what to buy. Because lab-grown diamonds have a lower price point, there is more variety for jewelry lovers when investing in a new piece.
The social and environmental impact of a diamond can also be important to acknowledge. “A mined diamond can exchange hands up to 15 times from excavation to cutters to distributors and retailers, and each time the price is marked up and that markup is transferred to the consumers.
How do you care for lab-grown diamond jewelry?
“Diamonds are rated 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness, which makes them one of the toughest gem materials to scratch. For this reason, diamonds are very durable for everyday wear,” D’Haenens-Johansson says. To care for them, keep things simple, and soak them in water with the addition of a few drops of mild dish soap. Once they’ve had the time to soak, gently scrub them, which can help to remove any leftover buildup.